The Painting and the City

New Paperback Edition Coming in July

This has been in process for a long time, but I can finally announce that The Visible Spectrum, a new imprint of Verse Chorus Press, is publishing the first U.S. and first paperback edition of my novel, The Painting and the City, set for a July 20, 2021 release. The book came out from PS Publishing in 2009, in two editions, a 100 copy slipcased hardback signed by myself and the introducer (Jeffrey Ford) and a 350 copy regular hardback signed by me. These were expensive and available in few stores.

I’m excited to have this new paperback (and ebook) coming out. I’ll post more as it gets closer to the release date.

In addition, my new short story collection (announced here or scroll down) should be coming out in September 2021.

“An unusual, haunting tale from a distinctive new voice.”—Lisa Tuttle, Sunday Times (London)

Gardening

Good things coming up in the land of book announcements, but meanwhile, a gardening post. The front of the house has two burning bush shrubs, one on each side of the front door.

Burning bush is invasive and difficult to eradicate, with roots that send up new plants everywhere. I’ve been meaning to get rid of them for some time.

Author and stump.

Last spring, I took care of one.

 

New Book

Cover art by Chris Roberts for
Tom Reamy’s Blind Voices.

I’m pretty thrilled to announce that I have a contract from PS Publishing for a short story collection. The title is Undiscovered Territories, publication tentatively late 2020. The collection will have over 98,000 words of my short fiction, including the novella, In Springdale Town, which came out in book form from PS in 2003.

Chris Roberts will be creating cover art and possibly some interior illustrations for part title pages.

Here’s a blurb from Steve Rasnic Tem (a shortened version will appear on the back cover):

“Writers who work in fantasy and science fiction often feel the need to adjust their raw imaginings to the expectations of genre. My experience of Robert Freeman Wexler’s work in Undiscovered Territories is that he has largely been able to avoid that compromise, creating emotionally and stylistically complex literary fairy tales which do not fit within the standard genres. Neither are they “realistic” in the conventional sense. In Wexler’s fiction bread sings and narrates its autobiography, a four-armed giant slips and tells a story while lying flat in the snow, and a vision of a rain forest appears on the wall of an urban building. As far-fetched as these metaphors may seem, they achieve an unexpected realism through Wexler’s manipulation of fragmented texts (an art history, a series of government proclamations, etc.) and a style which mimics such familiar modes as the adventure story and the travel journal. The result is at times reminiscent of a Jonathan Swift or a Jorge Luis Borges, and in all ways, fantastic. “

—Steve Rasnic Tem, author of Figures Unseen: Selected Stories and The Night Doctor And Other Tales

Flowers, Spring

When the magnolia starts to bloom, snow falls in quantities thick enough to freeze the blossoms and buds.

When the magnolia starts to bloom, if there is no snow, rain falls in quantities heavy enough to crush the blossoms and buds.

This year, the rain came early and the buds laughed.

The magnolia bloomed.

Helen Marshall Quote

Read this interesting bit in an interview with Helen Marshall:

One of the odd things I’ve found as a writer of the fantastic is that the longer the story, the more the story is forced into realism, even if it has an absurd or fantastic core. Long fiction is about tracing a series of consequences, and so it must be tied together by a believable reality. Short fiction…not so much. It doesn’t have to be sequential. It doesn’t have to be consequential. You can get away with so much more, and that makes it particularly good for horror stories. Horror, to me, is about confronting the fact that we live in a world that doesn’t actually make much sense.

Perhaps the reading brain can only handle total unreality in smaller doses.

I’m considering her statement in relation to an unpublished long story of mine called “Mountain.” I think that in the case of my story, what I was doing required a certain amount of realism and length, though it’s set in an unreal environment, and it ends in unreality. I have lately tended to write longer, but am drawn to the type of story she describes.

Read the whole interview here. Here website is here. Here books are published by the wonderful ChiZine Publications.

Julian Cope Has a Novel

“I demand of the reader to the point where they don’t know what’s real and what’s not real.”

Interesting article/interview in The Quietus with Julian Cope (otherwise known as the Arch Drude). Seems he’s written a novel, titled (and subtitled) 131—A Time-Shifting Gnostic Hooligan Road Novel.

Cope and interviewer amongst the standing stones of Avebury

From the publisher’s web page: “When drugged-up Time Traveller and ’80s musical burnout Rock Section and his fellow English hooligans get kidnapped during Italia ’90, there are ruinous implications. But now Rock has returned to Sardinia one final time to settle some scores and uncover the truth. He believes only Dutch cult leader Judge Barry Hertzog, still incarcerated on the island for the crime, can provide the answers. But through prescription drugs, the persistence of his driver Anna and a quest for the hidden ancient doorways strewn around Sardinia’s only highway, the 131, Rock will discover that a greater truth awaits him.”

Cope is someone who’s music I find always interesting, and I would think his fiction will be too.

Greene County Library Saves My Ass

Current library books.

I consume a lot of research material. I like to follow whims. My current novel-in-slow-progress (NISP) is a strange/historical/western/Texan/detective story set in 1888. I’ve needed books about the Texas Gulf Coast, the cities of Victoria (see older post here) and Galveston, TX, Texas Jewish history, the Texas Rangers, ranch/pioneer life, slavery, post-slavery African-American life in Texas, Mexican-American life, period firearms, dance, the Pinkerton Detective Agency, Charles Siringo, a Montgomery Ward catalog, the Gilded Age, gambling, poker, western and detective fiction.

Sorry, I’m out of breath. Rest a bit here and think about blue skies, and….

See a reference in a book of hard-boiled fiction about Leigh Brackett’s Chandler-esque 1944 novel No Good from a Corpse? Library gets it. Decide I want to read Allan Pinkerton’s 1874 book The Expressman and the Detective? Yep, library. Most recently, I requested the University of California Press 4-volume book The Codex Mendoza (which as you can see here, the least expensive hardback on Amazon is $2000 and paperback is $164).

Sometimes I get things for fun, too, like the collected-in-book editions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics, music CDs or a movie on DVD.

The library gives me access to everything in the county system, a search-Ohio public libraries system, an Ohio college libraries system, and WorldCat inter-library loan. Sometimes the book I want only exists in a few libraries, but it’s rare that there is something I can’t get.

Books, reference items, yes all that, but also, for me, a place to write. Because of my work schedule and home life, about the only time I have for writing during the week is my lunch break. I can spend anywhere from ten minutes to half and hour at the nearest library branch (usually Fairborn, because I work in Fairborn but sometimes I get crazy and go to the Yellow Springs branch), then back to work to eat something. It isn’t nearly enough time, but it’s what I have and I manage to make progress on whatever I’m working on.

The point—was there a point?—the Greene County Library saves my ass. Whatever I think I might need to see, they get for me. Right now, there’s a levy up for renewal. The state, as usual, is planning to cut library funding, again. Because, you know, if people read, they might vote, and if they vote, they might vote for someone else. Or, they might vote for the levy.

If the levy doesn’t pass, the library will have to reduce services. That will hurt me and everyone who uses it. And when it passes, the library will work with the state to prevent further loss of funding. So that maybe someday they don’t have to renew the levy. The whole point is: We need a stable library system here (and everywhere).

Please go here to find out more: http://stronglibraries.com/